PSYC 402
Blessings and Blunders of Human Memory Fall 2022
Division III
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Nietzsche wrote that the forgetful are “blessed” because “they get the better even of their blunders.” In what ways does forgetfulness serve us well? Is it possible, or even desirable, to have perfect memory? Can traumatic memories be repressed? Can false memories of committing a crime be implanted? Are “collective” memories subject to the same processes as individual memories? How do museums, monuments and sites (re)construct and tell a version of the past based on changing cultural identities? In this student-led seminar, we will attempt to answer these questions and more in the context of a broad exploration of the foundational concepts of human memory. We will examine the theories and methods researchers use to study individual and collective memories across varied domains, including clinical practice, romantic relationships, the justice system, and education. In this course, you will gain an evidence-based understanding of the nature of human memory through critical examinations of popular press literature, films, books, podcasts, and cutting-edge scientific studies.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 14
Expected: 14
Class#: 1978
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: participate in and lead class discussions, three papers (approximately 5-7 pages double-spaced; including at least one publication-ready science communication piece)
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: senior Psychology majors
Distributions: Division III

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